Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Saturday drew up an extensive plan for action to be taken regarding increasing concerns over the welfare of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Öcalan, who has been held in İmralı prison since 1999, has not been allowed visitors for 21 months, and the Turkish authorities have not responded to applications recently made by the HDP to visit the PKK leader.
The HDP leadership agreed on an action plan to focus on intensifying meetings with human rights organisations and other political parties, in a seven hour meeting of the party’s executive board, Mezopotamya News Agency reported. The party will also apply yet again to the Ministry of Justice to visit Öcalan.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar is expected to make a critical announcement on the party’s roadmap to end Öcalan’s isolation, during the HDP’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
A September visit of a delegation from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) raised hopes among those worried about Öcalan’s health and safety. But the ad-hoc visit raised concerns still further when the delegation declined to clarify whether or not they had actually met with him during their inspection.
As a result, the PKK leadership called on the Kurdish people to ramp up demonstrations demanding an end to Öcalan’s isolation. He has been held completely incommunicado since March 2021.
Denying a prisoner any contact with the outside world is regarded as cruel and inhuman punishment in both Turkish and international law, while preventing legal representatives from meeting their jailed clients is a violation of the universal principle of right to fair trial.
Turkey’s ongoing military operations against Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and North and East Syria were also on the agenda at the HDP’s Saturday meeting.
The party’s executive board approved the organisation of two rallies, one in the southern province of Adana on 24 December and another in the southeastern province of Batman on 25 December, to protest against the Turkish government’s war policies.